Fireworks, Fun & Freedom

Fourth of July weekend just passed. The gusto with which this holiday is celebrated in this little seaside town is quite astonishing.

Fireworks begin to be heard throughout the town at all hours weeks before the fourth. Houses are adorned with American flags and red white and blue bunting.

All decked out for the 4th

All decked out for the 4th

Business advertise their barbeques and celebrations.

When the fourth arrives at last people flood in from inland locales.They bring coolers and beach blankets, umbrellas, barbeques, boogie boards, strollers and playpens for the babies. The narrow streets and alleyways fill with cars and people and if you’re smart, you stay put for the whole event and simply watch it all go by. The scents of barbeque waft through the coastal air. Conversation and laughter are heard from balconies and porches where large groups gather to celebrate all afternoon together. Social media erupts with complaints about the rudeness of outsiders, opinions about locals who’ve been shooting off illegal fireworks all day, and displays of patriotism that celebrate our collective Americanness.

Once dusk begins to settle over the town, boats gather in the harbour awaiting the fireworks display by the Boosters at Cabrillo Beach. Beach chairs are pulled up on the inner beach to watch. But even before the darkness falls, all across this town and beyond into Lomita, Wilmington, Torrance and Long Beach, families and kids and uncles set off their private displays. Police patrol the streets trying to keep the fireworks at bay. The feeling of a-little-out-of-control rises. The rest of us watch with amazement as at any given moment we can see five, ten, twenty or more sprays of whizzing, dazzling, shimmering blasts of light illuminating this city we all love. Sometimes there are so many you can’t begin to see them all. Sometimes a siren rings out, and we all worry there has been a fire started. We can’t afford that, not now in the fourth year of our drought here in California.

Boats move to inner harbor to watch the fireworks.

Boats move to the inner harbor to watch the fireworks.

When the Cabrillo Beach Boosters show begins, it is magnificent, long enough to satisfy a whole town of people who just want to see their hearts in the sky. But even after it ends and the families pack up their coolers and beach chairs and sleeping babies to head home, the smaller light shows continue crackling long into the night and the sparkles are delightful, but the deafening booms of M80s disturb and terrify.

Firework Displays Across Town Photo Credit: Daily Breeze

Firework Displays Across Town
Photo Credit: Daily Breeze

As I try to sleep later that evening, I think about the kids growing up here in this town. I’ve thought about them all day. I wonder what they take away from a large across-the-whole-town celebration where so many ignore the law that says fireworks are illegal here.  Do they know? I hope they feel safe. I hope they are safe. I wonder how we can hold our children to a standard of law abidance when they see such disregard for it in their yards, and streets, parks and beaches. I wonder what it is that people love so much about shooting off fireworks that they risk tickets, arrest, and fire to use them.

I believe we all just want to celebrate. We want to blow off some steam, release some stress and have some loud, public fun together. Noisy, beautiful, hopeful explosions of colourful falling and rising light in the sky unite and include us. They say we love this place where we can be free from much of what hurts in the larger world. We are part this town. We are part of this country. I hope that is what our children take away from this a-little-too-crazy night in a sleepy little seaside town called San Pedro.


Check out other Slice of Life writers here11454297503_e27946e4ff_h



About Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be You

Principal at the School at the north end of Los Angeles Harbor where AWESOME happens. Working to make the world a little more wonder-full.
This entry was posted in celebrate, Fourth of July, Holidays, San Pedro, thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Fireworks, Fun & Freedom

  1. arjeha says:

    I must admit that I have never seen anything on a scale such as you describe. I can’t even imagine what it m u st be like seeing the sky above the water illuminated with all of those fireworks. It is always best to leave displays like that to the pros.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. elsie says:

    So glad you wrote and what a beautiful way you expressed your thoughts on this holiday. Loved the thought of fireworks as “hearts in the sky.” Deep thoughts on the effects of the blatant disregard of the law, I wonder too what the young ones who like to push the boundaries think. It does not set a good example.

    As for the blog, I notice a new theme used. Love your Eiffel Tower pic at the top! And you have the widgets that help me navigate back to previous posts. I thank you! 🙂 Well done Dayna!
    Question: Are you going to be a principal next year?

    Liked by 1 person

    • daywells says:

      Thank you for reading! So good to be looking at life through the lens of writing about it again!

      Yes! I’m excited to be starting the new school year as principal of the sweetest little school! You’ll have to come visit when you return to So. Cal.


  3. Anna Mackey says:

    Written beautifully! While reading your blog, I thought about the essence of being in the present – embracing the now! Thank you for a much needed reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    • daywells says:

      Anna, I love your take away from this post. So true. It’s so easy as a parent, or educator to get “stuck” in a place while the kids & life moves along. Right here, right now is a wonderfully good place to be.


  4. jarhartz says:

    I first read this on my phone and knew I needed to see it on the computer. Love this theme. I’m glad you found one that does what you want it to do. It’s hard to know what you will need down the road. I’m glad you switched to what “fit” YOU.

    You beautifully captured what I take for granted in our town. I especially love the ending.
    “Noisy, beautiful, hopeful explosions of colourful falling and rising light in the sky unite and include us. They say we love this place where we can be free from much of what hurts in the larger world.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. daywells says:

    Thank you! Now to get the twitter feed working correctly here. This is a pretty fascinating town, isn’t it? So many micro climates in social, economic and cultural ways. Its a fall-in-love-with-it kind of place.


  6. Thank you for sharing San Pedro’s fireworks display with us! I loved reading about your community coming together to “see their hearts in the sky.” Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s